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Businesses are constantly on the lookout to innovative new technologies and practices which could improve day-to-day functions. Sports organisations such as football clubs are no exception to this – Nirav Patel, CEO of Andaria, writes for Payment Expert on why football should be paying close attention to Embedded Finance.

Nirav Patel, CEO of Andaria – Credit: Andaria

The global football industry is experiencing impressive revenue growth in recent years, masking the nuanced financial challenges faced by individual clubs behind closed doors. While incomes across the most established leagues and competitions are soaring, many clubs grapple with escalating costs and the relentless pursuit of fresh revenue streams. This pressured situation not only jeopardises the sport’s sustainability but also negatively impacts fan experiences – the very heartbeat of football’s global community.

Despite the Premier League’s impressive 12% revenue surge in the 2021/22 season, reaching a record of £5.5bn overall, this conceals the fierce competition and mounting operational expenses that some clubs endure. In order to remain competitive, cultivate exceptional fan experiences, and achieve financial security, clubs must embrace the innovative solutions provided by Embedded Finance.

Taking control to revolutionise operations and optimise resources

Individual clubs can free themselves from dependence on third-party providers and their associated processing fees by assuming control over their own financial ecosystems. This pivotal shift translates to significant cost savings, allowing clubs to strategically allocate finances to critical areas like development of talent, fan engagement initiatives and stadium infrastructure, ultimately contributing to long term success. 

Embedded Finance consolidates all financial endeavours into a unified platform, streamlining operations and alleviating the burden of managing multiple disparate systems. This liberates valuable back-office resources previously occupied with mundane tasks. By automating these processes and simplifying financial management, Embedded Finance empowers clubs to concentrate on core priorities like improving the standard of football on the pitch, recruiting top talent, and forging key partnerships. This strategic realignment allows clubs to unlock their full potential and achieve sustainable growth.

Furthermore, Embedded Finance platforms offer invaluable data insights into fan behaviour and spending patterns. Leveraging this data allows clubs to optimise internal operations, streamline processes, and ultimately enhance the fan experience through targeted initiatives and personalised offerings.

Fostering deeper connections with supporters

Embedded Finance transcends traditional fan engagement strategies by cultivating more authentic connections with supporters. Offering tailored financial services such as loyalty programs, digital wallets, and exclusive payment options tailored to specific fan demographics fosters a genuine sense of community.

For example, clubs with a dedicated fan base can leverage Embedded Finance solutions to diversify their offerings, providing supporters with access to travel and hotel deals for away games. This streamlined approach consolidates all transactions within a single app, facilitating seamless payments while enabling fans to accrue loyalty points for exclusive benefits. This eliminates friction around financial services and payments, enhancing the loyalty strategy and ultimately contributing to elevated fan experiences and the team’s overall success.

A renaissance for football finance

Issuing branded debit cards to fans provides clubs with invaluable data on spending habits and preferences, spanning from casual fans to die-hard supporters. Armed with this wealth of information, clubs can craft personalised campaigns, create targeted merchandise offerings, and shape future initiatives to resonate more profoundly with fans.

This data-driven approach fosters deeper connections with supporters, bolsters the club’s brand identity, and unlocks fresh revenue streams, ensuring long-term financial health and success for the club.

The passion of football fans across the globe combined with the transformative power of Embedded Finance heralds a new era of novel rewards and opportunities for clubs and supporters alike. By embracing Embedded Finance, football clubs can embark on a new chapter of sustainable growth and heightened engagement with fans across physical and digital spaces. This secures the future of the beautiful game, both on and off the field.